To Choose or Not to Choose
With apologies to Shakespeare for the title of this blog, I’d like to share a few thoughts about making good choices. On a university campus, we speak often of the importance of making good decisions and accepting responsibility for their consequences. Later this month, Aurora University will open its long-awaited 500+ vehicle parking garage. As you might anticipate, we received mountains of advice on strategies for ensuring that the new facility is utilized fully. (I understand because I too hope that this major investment takes pressure off the neighborhood surrounding our campus and improves the lives of our students, faculty and staff.)
We weighed the counsel, sponsored focus groups, calculated carefully and ultimately decided that the best first step was to offer choices. In recent weeks, members of the campus community were invited to volunteer to use the parking garage. Over 1,000 faculty, staff or students raised their hands. Now we will conduct the lottery to determine the lucky recipients of new parking garage passes. There’s one important caveat. Those offered access to the facility must use it. They no longer may park in surface lots or on the street. In other words, with this choice comes an important obligation or responsibility.
Is there a risk in such a voluntary process? Maybe. There’s also a more important opportunity to act in behalf of a larger good. Perhaps it seems silly to talk about a parking garage in these terms. I don’t think so. I prefer invitations to requirements. Now let’s hope it works. If it does, we have one more piece of evidence about what it means to be “authentically AU.”
Rebecca L. Sherrick, PhD